John Cleese rants on the state of television


Now, more than ever, former Monty Python great, John Cleese, would love to utter the words, “And Now For Something Completely Different” and have it relate to television in the 21st century.

Still recuperating in his Santa Barbara home from recent knee surgery and planning his upcoming Alimony JohnCleese taping Fawlty Towers Revisited for PBSTour across the UK, John Cleese, has had a lot of time on his hands these days to think about “things”. With respect to the BBC, ITV  and British television, in general, he doesn’t like what he sees. Gone are the “glory days” of television where the word quality was mentioned, and mentioned frequently, during program planning meetings, Cleese says.

The star of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers and The Frost Report, amongst others, Cleese obviously misses television output from the fifties through the eighties. As I have said repeatedly, there is quality television there, unfortunately, you just have to search a lot harder for it. From Cleese’s perspective, the good ‘ole days consisted of far less bad television with Britain leading the way. He doesn’t see it getting any better as planners grab for the elusive dollar, laying blame at the feet of “hard-headed businessmen” that now control the likes of ITV and the BBC.

The word quality may not appear in planning meetings anymore, but it still exists and it’s up to viewers to demand it no matter what side of the pond you’re on.